Life Changing 2014

As the end of the year approaches and as my fitness is coming back I'm starting to look forward to 2014. Goal setting, race planning, life changing - that sums up how I envision 2014 and beyond. 

So often our goals are performance orientated, focusing on numbers and results. So I'm setting three non-numerical goals for 2014:

Run the trails more
Go on bike dates with hubby

Run more with friends

With hubby highly invested in his triathlon training and with two kids in the house, goals, plans, schedules are going to have to be expertly coordinated. One of the first things hubs and I discussed is not racing the same races - except 5k's - those aren't highly demanding when it comes to training. 

Hubby has yet to set his major goal race for 2014 so I'm waiting for that before I go ahead and plan anything major including an away race. I have plans to do a super sprint triathlon, the 5 Peaks sport series and the Blitz Duathlon in September. I would also like to run a half in late summer/early fall. See my races tab above for more and to follow my results as the year goes on. 

I really want to get back to blogging regularly as well. And, my goal this year is to also have a monthly give-away. Yes, I'm attempting to secure your readership loyalty with swag. 

Perhaps the biggest thing I'm excited for is my return to coaching. Starting January 11 I will be coaching a 10 week Learn to Run clinic  through Strides. Even better is that I've got one FREE entry to give away to one lucky wannabe-runner. I've tried to make the clinic as accessible as possible offering it Saturday morning at 9am. This means the sun will be shining so you an see where your feet are landing, your spouse will be home to watch the kids, and it's early enough in the day to still have some energy. How to win?

1.Comment on this post and tell me your running goal, or
2. Tweet me (@kourtbranagan) and tell me your running goal. 

Pretty simple. I really want to help you start running. And to be fair to those who also want to win, make sure you can attend at least 90% of the clinic days before entering the contest. The goal race for the clinic is the ever popular St. Patrick's Day 5km. This race sells out but I am hoping to get guaranteed entry for clinic participants. 

The draw for the free clinic will take place on January 9 about 10pm. Good luck!

Schedule Yourself Healthy


How to Survive a Run Streak

Day 16. 50% of the way through the Strides Run Streak. There have been some amazing highs and some (s)lows. All in all I am surviving, not thriving, this run streak. And that's to be expected. As I'm still really getting back into the swing of things fitness wise I'm just happy I'm doing something daily. Here are my tips for getting through December one mile at a time.

1. Make a plan
The original plan called for two days of one mile each followed by a day of increased mileage. Something like 1-1-2-1-1-3-1-1-2 ...

2. Ditch the plan
When a high number day coincided with a yoga day, I switched it up to doing a mile instead. And the last four days I've had zilcho energy so doing a mile at an ambling pace on the treadmill is what's working for me.

3. Set some loft goals
My goal is to run a) 10 minutes continuous and b) a sub 10 minute mile. These may or may not happen consecutively. Already I've run my furthest run (4km) and I hope to get up to 5km if I can by the end of the month.

4. Be realistic
It's Christmas. Life is busy. A mile is plenty.

5. Get creative
Do some intervals, hills, switch up the scenery. Stimulate your brain and your body. On day two I walked the ramp at Southland Leisure Centre for 22 minutes while Coach M danced.

The loaded down stroller while Coach J napped.

6. Be consistent
There is nothing wrong with running the same one mile loop. It's easy, predictable, and requires little planning.

7. Indulge
Have that extra cookie, chocolate, drink, candy cane. Seriously, it's the holidays. Reward yourself and don't feel the least bit guilty.

8. Rest
I have had many lazy one mile walks on the treadmill. Give yourself those easy days so you can have fun on those creative days.

9. Take credit where/when due
Two laps of the zoo, that qualifies. Carrying the baby while pulling the preschooler in the sled too and from school, though two separate trips; that qualifies.

I ran outside! For the first time in over a year. Felt. So. Good.

Ultimately it's your streak and you get to set the rules, goals, and define how each day is going to look. Streaking is hard. But we will all be better humans and runners when we're done this thing.


Coach Wifey vs. Coach Rob

Actual conversation in our house:

Hubby: So I told Rob in my email about the slight twinge in my calf that I got towards the end of my run. I thought he should know due to my previous calf problems blah blah etc etc.
Me: mm hmm and what did he say?
Hubby: hydrate
Me: *serious look of death being delivered as he is being spared verbal fury because the mini coaches are in the room* Oh really?

I have only been saying for I don't know, years, that hubby's pee is way too yellow and that he needs to be drinking more. But of course that was just nagging obviously, not any sensible coaching or anything.

You often hear of many elite athlete/coach couples but most often it's the husbands coaching their wife. I mean if my husband has some sound advice to offer me - 'go take a nap', 'rest days are allowed', I'm pretty sure I listen. So why then is it so hard to reverse this role and for me, the wife, to coach my husband? Or at the least, make some athlete minded, goal orientated observations. After all, I have put in the time training equally hard for some of my events. After all, I'm only looking at him every day. After all, I'm only listening to him talk about triathlon 24/7.

A bit of history:

I suppose it's my fault. It all started when I bought hubby a triathlon book with training schedules in it to help him train for his first Olympic distance tri (June 2013). And sure, the author has far more experience than I do coaching. But let's face it, Coach F wasn't living in our house with a three year old and a husband who works shift work. There is no chapter on adapting the training to an eight day work week that includes two 12 hour day shifts followed by two 12 hour night shifts. After much nagging hubs allowed me to take his training program and let me plan his final six weeks of triathlon training based around what was actually happening in our life.

By no means did I disregard the plans from very experienced Coach F. But by letting me do the schedule it I could put his key workouts on days when they are most likely to happen. And similarly schedule off or light days when life is hectic. I also chose three or four key workouts per eight day rotation that he had to do. This also meant that I must make sure I'm doing everything I can to help him ensure he got them done. The result: completed workouts and some successful training for the final six weeks leading to a pretty decent race.

A bit more history:

Early on in the training cycle for the above mentioned race hubby was emaciated and fatigued. He was eating less than I was (ok in some fairness I was pregnant) and he was so concerned about his weight I honestly thought he had anorexia athletica. I was hounding him to eat more for months. After again, much nagging hubby finally agreed to properly track his calorie expenditure vs. intake. Surprise! He was having nearly an 800 calorie a day deficit - no wonder he was struggling to complete workouts and was taking far more rest days than necessary. Of course this calorie tracking has now become slightly obsessive but hey, he's eating.  

I'm proud of hubs for letting me take the reigns. He is slow and sometimes resistant to change (unless he reads it in a book or apparently hears it from Coach Rob). It only took months of nagging and begging for him to start taking on some calories during his longer training sessions. The result - less fatigue near the end and wanting to quit and also more energy for the next workout.

And now we're here...

After his decent performance at his triathlon I asked hubby if he would ever consider getting a coach, someone who could properly write a program around his eight day work week and shift work. He said no. Enter Rob, fellow paramedic and coach to one of the country's best young triathletes. Rob also happens to have a small coaching business. So once again, my fault, as I say to hubby - 'Ok seriously, you are unlikely to find a better coach who understands the demands and schedule you have at work. Why not at least contact him and start the discussion?'

One email later Rob is now Coach Rob. One group workout later, Coach Rob puts the bug in hubby's ear that he could go to world's in his age group for 2015, which would mean qualifying in 2014. Hooray!? So ya. I'm about to become a triathlon widow again. 

Ultimately I get to veto workouts. Now some of you say pish-posh to this but here's the thing - the deal going into this (and always will be) was that family comes first. With a three year old and a three month old, I need him around to be a dad, and a husband. He is already gone two nights a week with work, so I'm not about to loose his other six nights to training. Group workouts outside of the house end up consuming two plus hours of his night. For example, he got home at 6:30 from work tonight, ate a quick dinner, helped get the girls down until 7:30 and then left while I finished getting the baby down. It's now 10:00 and I'm about to wrap this up and head to bed.

I'm also the one living with hubby. I am the one living with the effects of his training and watching him.     He never believes me but I can always tell you when he's overtrained, under-fueled, and generally not in a good spot with training - just reference the history section above. Now that we have a monthly schedule from Coach Rob hubs and I need to sit down and talk about the logistics and what is really going to work with our life. I am only willing to give up so many evenings to training. And I'm only willing to give up so many hours on his days off to training. Yes, there will be nights we can train side by side in the basement; yes, I might eventually be able to go to swim training too; yes, it's only temporary. It's a bag of mixed emotions for me. Hubby is really talented and I think he could be a fantastic age grouper. But what about when I'm back to full training mode? What about just sitting around drinking beer and watching tv together? What about leisurely family bike rides?

I know hubby hasn't fully committed to the whole training process and trying to qualify for world's. I know we're in an experimentation phase to see how this plays out on our lives. Calorie counting; triathlon geek-speak; the new equipment that I'm sure will be heading our way - bike, aero helmet, carbon blah-bitty-bah. But as I'm being honest and open, I know that this is going to happen. Mostly because I know how important this is to hubby and I want to enable this process the best I can. So while I'm trying to find a way to be settled with all this, finding a way not to struggle with the time commitment, I am excited to see hubby excel under some coaching as opposed to this nagging he gets at home.


Finding Calm with Effort

I think I had a record week for workouts since having Coach J - four! Now that might not seem like a lot to you but it was for me. And that's good. In fact it's real good.

Two yoga sessions and two runs in the books. My first run session I pushed myself and did multiple 3/1 (run/walk) sets. I was sufficiently pooped afterwards. Poor post-run refueling meant I struggled with a headache so I need to make sure I'm taking better care of myself. 

My second yoga session this week (Thursday night) was in the comfort of my basement with a new DVD. Mindful Flow with Sara Villamil. I am going to do a write up next week of how awsome it is. My legs quivered during the balance poses to be certain (note this is due entirely to my lack of fitness). I woke up Friday morning with a sense of calm - not something I had the rest of the week.

To say that life feels hectic seems like an understatement some days. I feel like I'm fighting the undertow with two girls in the house now. Balancing their needs for my attention, Coach M's activities, and the state of near chaos the house seems to be in, well, it adds up. 

That's why despite the fatigue and heavy legs today I took 25 minutes (cut short due to needy baby) and ran. Not fast today and no lengthy run/walk intervals (did 2:15/:45), but I carved out that time for me. 

And now I'm blogging. And now I'm about to join runchat on Twitter for the first time in ages.

Schedule Yourself Healthy!


Back At It

When your baby is finally, for the first time, napping in her crib during the day, when your preschooler is watching her allotted tv for the day, when you're six weeks postpartum, you don't think, you just go - running that is.

Being at that magic six week mark today I had it in my brain that today was the day to start running, sleep deprived or not. There just can't be any more days of excuses because let's face it, the three year old's crappy sleeping isn't going to get any better any time soon. The six week old - no complaints about her sleep here. So even if 20 minutes of running twice a week is all I do. It's doing it. It's something. 

The back at it program really started last week with three days of yoga. It was an hour, out of the house, using long forgotten muscles. But I came away each day feeling renewed and with a sense of calm. I took away some really great core moves to focus on once a week outside of what will be my once weekly practice on Mondays. 

My hopeful schedule will look something like cardio one day followed by some strength work the next. Ample rest days mixed in. For the cardio I am going to alternate between running and the bike. Hopefully this will break the monotony of the workouts. 

I anticipate most of my cardio sessions will be done inside on the treadmill or the trainer - but I can't wait to take in some gorgeous fall weather and get outside for a run or two before winter sinks in. 

And that was what I wrote almost a week ago...

Ok. One week later I have just been to yoga and cleared my brain after a hectic dinner hour. Ahh. 

What I really want to say is that being back at it isn't about losing weight, or even getting fit at this point. It's about learning to carve me time, healthy beneficial me time, into my days and weeks. It's about rebuilding a routine and expectation not only with myself but within the family. 

Schedule yourself healthy. 


Labour and Undelivery

So after my thoughts turned to ambitiously get blogging about my favorite things about running something else happened. Our beautiful city flooded. My thoughts on posting about my favorite run spots - with pictures, well, let's just say I couldn't even bring myself to go down to many of my favorite spots to see the damage as photos alone had me crying. We finally ventured down to Fish Creek with friends on Friday night for a picnic and the damage, though not to the extent of 2005, was remarkable and sad - and we were at the 'good end' of the park, with the East end being more severely hit. (Not from Calgary - google Calgary Flood in images to see the damage)

The friends we met were able to bike/run down - something I can't wait to do once this baby is out! Speaking of out, and speaking of workouts, let's talk about Labour and Undelivery.

Saturday afternoon I woke up from a nap with what was definitely more than a Braxton Hicks contraction. So I did some pacing in the house and some stairs and sure enough, these were real labour contractions. I woke hubby up from his nap and we preceded to get things ready to head to the hospital. Having had a quick delivery with Coach M (<4hrs) we thought it best to get there ASAP.

I won't bore you with all the details but essentially once at the hospital and sitting there with the monitors on to check baby's heart rate and my contraction rate, I stopped labouring. After about an hour I insisted to be taken off so I could get moving. So we walked, for 2.5 hours in the hospital hallways. I felt like things were progressing so we stopped back to get checked. Well what do you know, sitting down basically halted the whole process again. After having some discussion with my obstetrician (who was thankfully working) and listening to my gut (which was grumbling of hunger) we decided to pack it in and head home to be more comfortable, eat, and rest. Half hour after getting home I was still having the odd contraction but mostly they had settled down. I went to bed and here we are Monday morning with no baby.

Am I disappointed, yes and no. Mostly hubby and I have taken this away as a learning experience. Yesterday I was exhausted. It felt like I had done a really hard workout - not that walking is overly strenuous but I challenge you to walk for 2.5 hours with a 35lb vest. Walking and contracting is a bit of a workout I'd say. I had put on my compression sleeves when we got home Saturday night and that helped my legs to feel so much better. But my back and hips were awfully achy come Sunday morning. Stretching, rolling - basically treating myself as if I had run a really hard race has helped to ease the pains.

And that's what I'm thankful for - I know how to recover. Eat, sleep, stretch. But what was missing? Well would you do a 2.5 hour workout without nutrition? electrolytes? I did, and I shouldn't have. I did have Nuun packed in my bag for recovery but I should have been drinking that and not just water on Saturday. We have also now packed some Honey Stinger gels in the bag. Labour is a workout and I need to treat it as such.

I am feeling a lot less tired today and suspect my ATP & carbohydrate stores are recovering. My focus now is eating lots of good quality protein and restoring some balance in my body for the next workout - real labour. Hopefully I can report back soon with news of a baby!


Winding Down

This is almost my last shift at work before I'm off on maternity leave. If I think about it too much I might get sentimental - I've been crying at just about everything lately. This Friday I will be 34 weeks pregnant and let's face it, bending down to help people tie their shoes is getting a little cumbersome. Some people seem aware of my large abdomen, others are completely oblivious and look at me with an expression to say 'why aren't you helping me more?' Ummm.

When I decided to go back to work after having Coach M I knew I wanted to work in a place where I could both inspire and be inspired. It's been 18 months now at Strides and I have met some fantastic people - both runners and coworkers. I have learnt even more about running, footwear, and people. After being out of the running industry for a few years it was refreshing and welcoming to be back. Now, upon having to leave again I am actually contemplating when would be too soon to return? I want my time off with baby #2 but I also love having this time away from the house.

Ideally I will be back coaching next spring from the store - likely targeting 5km and 10km runners, maybe even coaching another Learn to Run clinic. Friend and coworker Laurie has been hosting a successful daytime running clinic including lots of stroller pushing mamas. So there's always that too.

With delivery in the near future I can't help but think of how soon I might be able to return to running. With this on my radar I'm hoping to get back blogging with a new series about my three favorites - places to run, races to do, etc. I will kick it off with my three favorite thing.s about Strides.

1. My coworkers. These people really like coming to work and helping everyday people get into the proper footwear and equipment. Even though I've been here for 18 months, most of the staff is senior to me. With such low employee turnover this is obviously a great place to work, and everyone really knows their stuff.

2. The runners. We have some amazing people who run from the store and regularly attend our clinics. I was fortunate to coach a handful of them and really appreciate and love their enthusiasm and dedication.

3. The stuff. From footwear to clothing, it's great to work in place where you can stand behind the products you are selling and really believe in them. From the high quality compression wear to the best selection of footwear and a broad selection of stylish performance clothing. I have a pretty wide selection in my own drawers and I'm forever wanting the latest and greatest we get in.

Thanks to everyone for their well wishes, their time, and we will be seeing you soon on the paths!


Perfectly Pregnant

Oy! How many times have you heard this - I've been meaning to sit down and write... Well, I haven't. I haven't been meaning because I can't think of a darn thing to to say. And then today something changed and I had an 'aha' moment and I really want to share it.

For the last couple weeks people have been saying 'You look great!' and I am quick to say 'I look pregnant' in a self-demeaning trying to joke tone. Wait, what is so wrong with looking pregnant?! I might not be looking princess Kate pregnant but I'm also not looking Kim Kardashian pregnant either.

Today's aha moment courtesy of a fellow running coach who currently weighs something like 118lbs and ballooned (her words not mine) to 190lbs while pregnant with both her kids. She said I looked 'Perfectly Pregnant'. Yes, at 25+ weeks the bump is a bump, my clothes fit relatively well, I have ample cleavage, and I have yet to really balloon out myself - not that it won't happen.

So before I find myself in that oh so uncomfortable 30+ weeks phase I should just keep rolling with the perfectly pregnant look for another five or so weeks and find the attitude to match it. I am still struggling mentally somewhat from my lack of ability to run, but perhaps more so my lack of motivation to do much in the way of fitness. It's a balance beam I'm constantly walking.

At one end is the desire to be doing something active and healthy because it's good for me and baby. At the other end is the desire to just be and not worry about getting in 30 minutes or more of activity a day. Twice a week I have been doing yoga and sometimes I will throw in a third session at home. Then there's vacuuming at least once a week - that counts right? To be truthful I think the reason I'm avoiding anything other than yoga is that really, I'm just not that comfortable. This kid is sitting low. As in, my tailbone is already sore from all the pressure and I still have a cute little waist above what, if it wasn't so round, might look like a gunt (can I say that?) My ribs aren't taking a beating (yet) as babe is snuggled so deep down.

At my 20 week ultrasound I was told that I have a low-lying placenta. Which I believe explains all the pains and discomforts of running I had early on and why still any high intensity activity and lifting is still uncomfortable. Oh, and did I mention this kid is sitting low, snuggled against my bladder so even if I wasn't uncomfortable walking at a decent pace I'd be trotting to the toilet every five minutes.

This pregnancy is so much different from the first and I have to love it for that. I definitely have more energy and feel less sleepy. I also don't have strong food cravings. I attribute all this to having a much better diet than I did the first time around. First baby - exercise with bad/poor/crappy (not that bad really) food. Second baby, little exercise with good/great/healthy food (really that good).

So yes, the training epiphany I had... well that all went the wayside, especially after a week in Mexico just lounging. I'm a rec runner/triathlete who will at some point resume her activity and be just as good and maybe better than before. And so the next time someone says I look good, or maybe calls me perfectly pregnant, I will smile, and so thank you and be grateful for the life I will get to welcome in three or so months.


The Training Epiphany

To say that my brain isn't working at capacity is the truth. To say that I haven't been training to capacity is the truth too. Oh sure, I'm 16 weeks pregnant and busy growing life but was that your excuse to sit on the couch? No. And this go around as much as I've been mentally saying that I'm not going to do that either, well I have. I figure I have 16 weeks of good training left in me, before I really start to feel the weight and size of pregnancy and slow down. Then I can just chill a bit.

Today I had an epiphany as I made myself get on the bike. And then while on the bike I figured I better make good use of my half hour - so I focused on a strong circular pedal for the better part of the workout. And then poof - all that blood flow sparked an intelligent thought in my brain. I'm not getting workouts done because I don't have a plan. No calendar, no goals, nothing. But why not? Just because I'm pregnant it doesn't mean that I can't focus on getting better. Oh sure, I'm not going to be setting any land speed records but there are aspects of training I can focus on.

I've been regularly committed to yoga twice a week since the beginning of January. And I see progress despite the growing belly. I stand taller, reach further, bend deeper. So if I can 'train' doing yoga while pregnant why can't I get my head around focusing on some other training aspects of biking, swimming, or weights? Running is on the outs. I've tried but I'm just not comfortable. And to be truthful, other than aerobic endurance, training for form or speed while pregnant just doesn't make sense.

So, Step 1. Print off a calendar. My best successes have come when I have a calendar printed, separate to our family schedule, where I can write down the hubby's workout plans for the day, and mine. This is a good reference point for both of us so we equally ensure the other can have time for their needed workout. Yes, I am the one who will give up a workout if we are pressed for time right now, but for me, I need this. I need a schedule.

Step 2. Bust out the star stickers. Yes, I love stickers as a reward. It has been a great motivator in the past so why not now?

Step 3. Focus on the specifics. Ultimately the best thing I can train for is aerobic endurance right now, and some strength aspects. But beyond that - can I be a better cyclist, swimmer? My peddling can definitely use some fine tuning. So can my swim stroke. My endurance has suffered taking from approximately weeks 6-16 off. So I can work to build that up again.

With 16 weeks to train I am thinking of looking to do four, four week blocks. Each block focusing on specific skill sets in one aspect. So, for set one, I'd like to work on my pedalling technique with some aerobic endurance. When I swim, I will focus on drills and becoming more proficient at bilateral breathing. Weeks 5-8, I am going to look at building my aerobic endurance. Weeks 9-12 I would like to focus on some strength. Perhaps forgoing one aerobic workout for a second weight workout instead. Weeks 13-16, tbd. Any suggestions?

I have a weights day scheduled once a week. Here I'd like to focus on a few things specifically - mostly my glutes. I lost a lot of my glute strength carrying Coach M, and I think that led to a longer return to good running form. Yoga is giving me some good glute work most days so adding in once more would be nice. Also, upper body strength and back work. As my centre of gravity shifts, and my core naturally weakens, I am already finding lifting Coach M to be more challenging. Getting a good strong upper body and back to support good breast feeding posture are my two main goals besides my glutes.

Rest - being pregnant, I've decided to schedule a rest day once every five days instead of once a week. I think this will help me stick with the program. So, there it is. The plan. No excuse now.

After all, I'm the one to say Schedule Yourself Healthy.


Eating for Two - Cravings and Musings

Well, I'm officially now, for one of two weeks in my second trimester. Yipee the feel good times. Well mostly. I am definitely feeling better all around but still am presented with challenges (running, can no longer sleep on my stomach).

Reflection on the First Trimester

Early on while I wasn't horribly nauseous I did have bouts in the afternoon that were best cured by a healthy dose of food. Hello weight gain. But as my nausea subsided by desire for food only increased. Honestly, I couldn't get enough of it. I tried desperately to not eat everything in sight. I planned snacks, healthy meals, and occassionally digging into a craving or something less than my standard of  healthy. Of course, being pregnant over the Christmas season just meant lots of food many nights and shortbread cookies. I'm not a sweets girl but the butter sugar melt-in-your-mouth combo. Well, you know. My interesting craving during weeks 6-9, chips and salsa. The salt and carbs of the chips plus something about the spice and tomatoes of the salsa. It was my thing.

Now the Second Trimester

My cravings have been wacky. Ok, inconsistent might be a better word. No, wacky.

One week I wanted everything cold frozen. Frozen raspberries were a staple. Normally I can't stand water with ice in it but during this phase, the more ice the better. A fresh cold cucumber from the fridge. Yum. I didn't understand it, won't pretend to, and really, could care less.

Bowl of Frozen Raspberries

Then one day, french fries. Ok normally I'm a total sucker for these and they are my guilty pleasure but I don't crave them. But this day, I went through the drive through on my way to work and ordered the biggest size possible. Feeling guilty (I do after all work at a running store), I ate with pleasure in the back room while my coworker for certain thought I'd lost it some. I haven't craved fries since.

A few days ago my craving was fresh strawberries. Then just yesterday a veggie platter. These all seem like highly reasonable things to give into so I am. Why deny my body broccoli? So far today, no cravings. All in all my cravings are much more sporadic and wacky than my first pregnancy where I had very clear and defined needs for certain foods. First trimester - orange juice, Second Trimester - peanut butter, Third Trimester - dairy.

Otherwise I've been eating fairly normal and haven't had any food aversions per se. I'm less inclined towards meats (except red meat - bring on the beef!) so I find myself just eating smaller portions. I would say generally we eat much healthier now than I did when I was carrying Coach M and so I think with more balance I'm not tending towards or away from as many foods. I know 'they' say you should eat more during the second and third trimesters but I'm just not that hungry. Or not hungrier than usual. I suppose though I'm less active so my body is using the same number of calories to grow a human rather than making or maintaining muscle (now there's a whole other post).

It will be interesting to see what other whims pop up through out the next while.

A small impedence on the view down towards my toes.


Learning to love my pregnant self

It's week 10. It's a week of fresh starts including a new yoga class last night.

Yoga has a way of making me feel strong, limber, all while pointing out my tight runner hips. Ah, running. It's all over my twitter feed, it's work, it's what I can't do with this pregnant body. I haven't entirely given up - I'm going to try yet again, but between a low lying belly and leaky bladder (only while running), I might finally have to put my shoes away for a few months.

So I'm learning to love a new pregnant body. While pregnant with Coach M it was new and exciting the first time round. I forgave the weight gain as it came (nearly 50 lbs - yes my dr's eyes practically jumped out of his head when I told him this) and was gracious giving myself time to get back to a 'normal' self (almoat a whole year). Well, gracious on the outside. It was a battle to put on a brave face for others. Finding balance between breast feeding (with large large boobs) and being comfortable enough to run meant I struggled to find something to wear, and had to time workouts expertly in the first bit. Not to mention running with extra weight on your joints and flabby abs. I will never forget how defeated I felt my first run back.

All baby 18 days before Coach M arrived.
So this me, round 2, knows more what to expect thus also what to dread. I dead the weight gain. But I can only control so much. I don't excessively eat. I exercise when I can. Genetics be dammed! I intend to try to be gracious with my body, affording it the liberties of pregnancy including weight gain, high fat deposits, and sometimes being too tired to do anything other than sleep.

I am going to practice yoga often, swim often, ride the bike when I can, lift some weights when I can. But still afford my body a period of rest where it can focus on growing a healthy baby. I am envious of those who are running right now - especially in our mild winter these days - but know I will be able to come back it - and not so ambitiously as I did the first time so as to avoid feelings of defeat.

I am going to try to embrace the changes in my body with humor and humility. I am going to at least like my pregnant body for all that it is and will be, even if I can't love it.